The Best Spaghetti Salad

LAST UPDATED: Jun 02, 2020 | PUBLISHED: May 12, 2020 | By: Julie Blanner

Spaghetti salad is an incredibly flexible, fast pasta salad recipe that is such a crowd pleaser! Tossed in a savory homemade Italian dressing, this cold spaghetti salad recipe is a keeper. It’s a recipe your  friends and family will ask you to bring again and again. 

A white bowl with spaghetti salad, wooden spoons to the side.

Every home cook should have a classic pasta salad (or five!) in their line-up. We love pasta salad in our house all year long, but especially in the summer.

It’s cold, refreshing, holds so well in the fridge, and feeds a crowd! What’s not to love? I’ve brought you a variety of pasta salad recipes over the years – which ones have you tried? Don’t skip these recipes if you’re a lover of allllll the pasta salads like we are! 

In fact, I’ve got an entire post dedicated to rounding up all the reader-fave easy pasta salad recipes around here. Don’t miss it– you’ll want to pin and save it for later!

Close up of the veggies in a bowl of spaghetti salad

Why You’ll Love this Recipe

This cold spaghetti salad is the ultimate crowd pleaser. It’s perfect for summertime picnics and potlucks because it feeds a crowd and carries so well.

The best news of all? It’s a perfect recipe to make ahead! As it marinates in the refrigerator, the flavors meld together and this recipe is even better on the second day!

It’s full of zesty Italian herbs and seasonings and bursting with fresh veggies. It’s wholesome, filling, and beautifully colorful to serve – what’s not to love? 

A white bowl with spaghetti salad, wooden spoons to the side.

Homemade Italian Dressing

Yes, you can of course make a great pasta salad with a bottle of store bought dressing. But once you see how easy it is to make your own, you’ll never go back! 

I love homemade salad dressings (in fact, I have a complete vinaigrette guide) and I’ve shared many with you here – be sure to check out all those delicious dressing options! 

With the addition of a homemade zesty Italian dressing, you’re creating a customized, colorful salad experience with an explosion of flavor! Not only does it taste better, but you get to control the ingredients. No more strange preservatives and added sodium. Fresh is always best! 

I like to give a lot of detail in my recipe posts to guide readers through any questions. If you’re just here for the printable recipe, feel free to click “jump to recipe” right under the title of this post and you’ll head straight there!

A large white bowl of cooked spaghetti surrounded by small bowls of ingredients to make a spaghetti salad recipe.

Spaghetti Salad Recipe Ingredients

  • Spaghetti
  • Cherry Tomatoes – Roma tomatoes diced also work well.
  • Zucchini
  • Cucumber
  • Red Bell Pepper – You can use fresh red peppers, or switch it up with diced green bell peppers or roasted red peppers! 
  • Red Onion
  • Olives
  • Salami – Use sliced or cubed. You can ask your deli for thick slices to cube.

Pasta Salad Dressing

  • Olive Oil – Extra Virgin is my favorite, but you can use what you have on hand. Canola oil makes a great substitute.
  • Red Wine Vinegar – White wine vinegar or white balsamic vinegar also work well.
  • Minced Garlic – Fresh or minced in a jar.
  • Basil – Fresh or dried, your choice! Use 3 times more if fresh.
  • Oregano – Fresh or dried, your choice! Use 3 times more if fresh.
  • Sugar
  • Salt – Thick flakes of salt from a grinder is my go to, but kosher salt works as well.
  • Pepper – Thick flakes of coarse black pepper from a grinder offer the best flavor and texture, but you can use what you have on hand.
A marble surface filled with herbs and seasonings to make a homemade Italian dressing.

Variations

  • Add Cheese – Mozzarella or Parmesan Cheese work well
  • Add Pepperoncini
  • Make it a Vegetarian/Vegan Pasta SaladOmit salami.
A white bowl filled with ingredients for a homemade spaghetti salad recipe.

How to Make Spaghetti Salad

  1. Prepare Spaghetti – Bring a large pot of water salty like the sea to a boil. Cook spaghetti al dente (so it doesn’t get mushy).A bowl of boiling water on a stove top, spaghetti noodles halfway in the water and half out. A silver pot of boiling water with spaghetti noodles inside.
  2. Shock Pasta – Drain and rinse pasta in cold water. This stops the noodle from cooking, preventing it from becoming mushy.A white sink with water running into a strainer filled with cooked spaghetti.
  3. Make Dressing – In a jar, combine dressing ingredients. Shake until well combined.A clear glass jar filled with spaghetti salad dressing.
  4. Toss – Toss spaghetti, dressing and toppings until thoroughly combined. A white bowl with spaghetti salad, wooden spoons to the side.

Tips

  • Good pasta makes a huge difference here! If you’re up for it, try my homemade pasta recipe – you’ll never regret that extra step!
  • You can break your spaghetti noodles in half if you’re using a boxed pasta for shorter strands.
  • I like to chop my veggies pretty coarsely for this recipe, but you can go as small or as large as you’d like.
Close up of the veggies in a bowl of spaghetti salad

How to Store Pasta Salad

Refrigerate – Wrap your serving bowl tightly with plastic wrap, or choose a storage bowl with a tight fitting lid. Most pasta salads can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. 

I really enjoy making this one ahead of time because it’s truly even better the second day!

A white bowl full of homemade Italian spaghetti salad.

What to Serve with Spaghetti Salad

This spaghetti salad serves beautifully with all types of grilled and baked proteins and summertime barbeque entrees! 

Serve it alongside any of the following for a wholesome, healthy dinner! 

A white bowl full of homemade Italian spaghetti salad.

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 More Summer Side Dishes

A white bowl with spaghetti salad, wooden spoons to the side.

Spaghetti Salad

Julie Blanner
Spaghetti salad is an incredibly flexible, fast pasta salad recipe that is such a crowd pleaser! Tossed in a savory homemade Italian dressing, this cold spaghetti salad recipe is a keeper.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 10
Calories 249 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 zucchini diced
  • 1 cucumber diced
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 1 red onion diced
  • 1 3.8 ounce can sliced olives drained
  • 3/4 cup salami sliced or cubed

Pasta Salad Dressing

  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta.
  • Drain and rinse pasta in cold water. Return to serving bowl.
  • In a jar, combine dressing ingredients. Shake until well combined.
  • Add ingredients and dressing. Toss.

Notes

Substitutions

  • Cherry Tomatoes – Roma tomatoes diced also work well.
  • Red Bell Pepper – You can use fresh red peppers, or switch it up with diced green bell peppers or roasted red peppers! 
  • Salami – Use sliced or cubed. You can ask your deli for thick slices to cube.
  • Olive Oil – Extra Virgin is my favorite, but you can use what you have on hand. Canola oil makes a great substitute.
  • Red Wine Vinegar – White wine vinegar or white balsamic vinegar also work well.
  • Minced Garlic – Fresh or minced in a jar.
  • Basil – Fresh or dried, your choice! Use 3 times more if fresh.
  • Oregano – Fresh or dried, your choice! Use 3 times more if fresh.
  • Salt – Thick flakes of salt from a grinder is my go to, but kosher salt works as well.
  • Pepper – Thick flakes of coarse black pepper from a grinder offer the best flavor and texture, but you can use what you have on hand.

Variations

  • Add Cheese – Mozzarella or Parmesan Cheese work well
  • Add Pepperoncini
  • Make it a Vegetarian/Vegan Pasta SaladOmit salami.

Tips

  • You can break your spaghetti noodles in half if you’re using a boxed pasta for shorter strands.
  • Cut veggies course or chunky – it’s completely up to you.

To Store

Refrigerate – Wrap your serving bowl tightly with plastic wrap, or choose a storage bowl with a tight fitting lid. Most pasta salads can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. 

Nutrition

Calories:249kcalCarbohydrates:39gProtein:9gFat:6gSaturated Fat:1gCholesterol:7mgSodium:200mgPotassium:314mgFiber:3gSugar:5gVitamin A:513IUVitamin C:24mgCalcium:34mgIron:1mg
Keywords Spaghetti Salad, spaghetti salad recipe
Did you Make This Recipe?Mention @JulieBlanner
Disclosure

mini loaves of bread gift wrapped